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Democratic presidential debate plans in disarray after every qualifying candidate threatens to boycott

Food service workers at the venue have vowed to picket during the event if they don't get a contract

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Every Democratic presidential candidate who has met the threshold for participating in next week's primary debate has threatened to skip the event, after it came to light that the venue owner is currently in a labor dispute with its food workers' union.

What are the details?

The debate is scheduled to take place next Thursday at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, but the union representing the school's food service workers announced Friday that contract negotiations with the university broke down.

"Now the leading contenders for the Democratic nomination will be greeted with picket lines at their replacement venue," the union threatened, after noting that the debate had already been moved from a prior location due to a separate labor dispute.

Each of the seven qualifying candidates reacted by promising not to cross the picket line. Former Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, businessman Andrew Yang, billionaire Tom Steyer, and Sens. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.). all voiced their support of the union and promised not to enter the venue if the workers' protest was still ongoing.

Two contenders who didn't make the cut — Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) and former HUD Secretary Julian Castro — also declared their support for the union and said none of the would-be participants should cross the picket line.

As of this writing, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) had not released a public statement on the dispute.

Anything else?

The Democratic National Committee told The Washington Post it was working on "an acceptable resolution" to the issue, telling the outlet, "[Chairman] Tom Perez would absolutely not cross a picket line and would never expect our candidates to either. We are working with all stakeholders to find an acceptable resolution that meets their needs and is consistent with our values and will enable us to proceed as scheduled."

One last thing…
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